Tower Hamlets July 20 Composite 600

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Council faces judicial review over SEND cuts

A group of parents of children with special educational needs or disabilities has been granted permission to take the London Borough of Waltham Forest to judicial review over spending cuts.

Waltham Forest SEND Crisis said a Skype hearing would be held on 29-30 July. Its Crowd Justice page said donations totalling £4,060 had been received towards legal costs.

The group said Waltham Forest had proposed severe cuts to funding for SEND children, which had “caused huge alarm to parents, teachers and professionals, and will have long-term, detrimental effects on all children in schools across the borough if they are allowed to proceed”.

Some children could lose their teaching assistant and other support, while special schools would see an annual 1.5% cut to their funding.

Cuts would leave schools with “an impossible choice” over resources which would also affect non-SEND pupils as there would be increased workloads for teachers and support staff.

Grace Williams, cabinet member for children, young people and families, said: “We will defend the proposals at the High Court hearing.

“We are being asked to provide more with less resources. We have repeatedly lobbied the Government to increase the amount of funding they provide for SEND services. To date this has not happened.

“In the meantime, we must take this vital action to safeguard SEND services so that we are able to provide for more young people who rely on our help.”

She said the council’s proposals would mean every child would receive the same level of support and provision as before and their needs cannot be met with their current funding band they will be reassessed and receive the support they need.

Mark Smulian

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